Stream Ecology Student Research Project

Grades: 
9-12
Topic(s): 
Biodiversity

his "Stream Ecology Unit" was designed by a Baltimore County high school teacher, Mr. Tom Keller, as part of his Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study during the 2009-2010 school year.

Objective: Students will be able to utilize a learned understanding of stream ecology and macroinvertebrate biology to investigate the effects of habitat preference, possibly due to available nutrients and dissolved oxygen, on macroinvertebrate species diversity and abundance in Hereford High School’s stream.

Unit Plan Overview:

Day 1 - Macroinvertebrate Biology and Stream Ecology Background, Research Project Introduction, Collection of Leaf Samples at the Stream

Day 2 - Student Research, Begin Webquest Research, and Experiment Design

Day 3 - Experiment Setup at the Stream, Complete Webquest Research

Day 4 - Collect Data at the Stream

Day 5 - Analyze Data with Partners in the Computer Lab and Present/Share Data with other Groups (to be used to write individual lab reports)

*Note: These days are chronological for the five class days actually used for completing the student research projects. Due to the nature of the experiments, there will be many days inserted in this schedule in which students learn other curricula, and therefore, the duration of this entire student research project is spread out over several weeks, and the days listed above indicate the five class days devoted to the projects over a longer period. Also, the lab report is to be completed individually outside of class at the end of the experiments, using the data from all lab groups to address the learning objective.

Concepts Students will Learn During this Unit Plan:

Scientific Method

  • Experiment Design
  • Data Analysis (Spreadsheets, Charts, Statistics)

Ecological Concepts

  • Trophic Levels
  • Extinction
  • Competition/Variation/Natural Selection

Biology

  • Insect Anatomy/Adaptations
  •  Life Cycles
  • Taxonomy
  • Importance of often Overlooked Microbes
  • Social
  • Impact on/of Humans
  • Stream Health Assessment

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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